IWitness Goes to School in India

Lisa Heydlauff

Through the eyes of a child, India is full of potential. It’s a magical mix of everything at the same time.

This week we hosted the first India-to-India IWitness trip. It was made even more special because we could share the success of our “Be! an Entrepreneur” programme and at the same time look forward to the impact we will have with our new “Get a Plan” programme.

The Children’s Scrappy News Service – made by children, for children – is one of the highlights of “Be! an Entrepreneur”. In a makeshift newsroom made of junk, young anchors and reporters go into their communities to find out what doesn’t work and most importantly, how they can fix it.

The Children’s Scrappy News Service gives children a platform and a voice to shape the future. It’s a colourful, fun platform that makes us grown-ups engage and listen, too. When you see the service, you get it. You understand that despite everything, children are running a news service to try to understand the world around them and to make it a better place. They are using their 21st century design-thinking skills to problem-solve in places where there is very little of anything.

Anyone can make something out of nothing to change the way things are. We believe anyone can be scrappy – and challenged our IWitness friends to discover their scrappy skills too.

Photo by Going to School.

In the past two years, with support from the IKEA Foundation, we were able to scale up our successful model, Be! an Entrepreneur, with Grade 9 students in 500 secondary schools in Bihar. Independent evaluation results showed that the programme helped children acquire problem-solving, creativity and gender awareness skills.

With our new five-year multi-partnership programme, Get a Plan, we are building on these foundations to help young people in Bihar transition successfully from school to equitable work of their choice. We’re designing an interactive education curriculum that will be delivered in Government secondary schools in Grades 9-12 to teach children the skills they need to complete their education, get a job, or start a business.

Photo by Going to School.

Get a Plan will ensure that children and young people, especially young girls and young women, build the aspirations and skills they need to make informed life choices regarding work, starting a business or continuing with their studies.

Young people are the future. And the future starts now. Come visit us one day soon. The Children’s Scrappy News Service would love to tell your story.

By creating new skills-to-work content with young people and training teachers in 1,000 schools to support students as they take their first steps towards employment, entrepreneurship or higher education, Going to School will lift the career prospects of 400,000 young people in one of India’s poorest states.

Photo by Going to School.

Lisa Heydlauff

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Heydlauff

Lisa Heydlauff is the director & founder of Going to School in India, a creative not-for-profit education trust that makes design-driven stories to teach children 21st Century Skills at school. Lisa has lived in India for 20 years. She likes to think, when she’s not being serious, that she too, is scrappy.

More posts by Lisa Heydlauff

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